What does Astroturfing mean?

Pretending to have a people-driven campaign

Astroturfing is a strategy where a party with vested interests pays people on social media or online forums to influence public opinion about a product, policy, or belief. This is done to make something appear more popular or unpopular than it truly is. For instance, if a company like Walmart were to pay Facebook users to talk positively about their employee benefits, that would be an example of astroturfing.

Often, people on social media and forums will point fingers at corporations, politicians, or other entities for astroturfing when they notice an unusually large number of users expressing similar, and often strange, opinions. To illustrate, if numerous Facebook users suddenly started posting about Walmart’s “amazing employee benefits” simultaneously, it would likely indicate that Walmart has initiated an astroturfing campaign.

The term Astroturfing is derived from the synthetic grass known as astroturf. Just like astroturf is artificial grass, astroturfing represents a manufactured, or fake, grassroots movement. The purpose of this deceptive practice is to create an illusion of widespread support or opposition for a particular cause or product.

Example for using ‘Astroturfing’ in a conversation

Hey, have you heard about astroturfing?

Yeah, it’s when companies pay people to make their stuff seem popular, right? 🌱

Exactly! Like if a company pays social media users to praise their products, it’s astroturfing. πŸš€

I’ve seen that happen. It’s so obvious when suddenly everyone is talking about how amazing something is. πŸ˜’